20070420 Flight Status

From Bob Wells FAAM BAE Flight Operations Manager:

Flight B285 to observe the METOP overpass over the Gulf of Mexico with the NASA WB57 was billed as FAAM’s first attempt at a 3-sector science flight and had taken a lot of effort to set up. Two refuelling stops were arranged at New Orleans.

The science work along the sub-orbital track was very interesting and successful.
12 dropsondes worked well (minor problems with a couple). Some areas were clear sky and in other places there were scattered clouds of various types. Steep sea-surface temperature gradients were observed at one point and some in-situ cloud physics data was recorded so, altogether, this should produce an extremely valuable IASI validation dataset.

There was just enough fuel remaining at the end of the (slightly-modified) science flying to recover directly to Ellington and so avoid a second refuel at New Orleans.

Soon after the team had hit the sack came news of a major problem with the METOP satellite and Principal Investigator Jonathan Taylor was woken by a call from EUMETSAT.

At the time of writing (1700Z 20th April) it sounds as though IASI will be out of action for something like a week. This is likely to reduce the amount of flying FAAM attempts in this period but there are possibilities of work with the Houston Plume and with the AQUA satellite.

Hopefully there will be a clearer programme to present to the team at the hotel at 1800L meeting on Sunday.

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